Curtain up for modern slant on religious tale

Jesus Christ Superstar - Laura hewitt, Leoni Seville, Daniel Woolley, Katie Lockwood and Perese Haye
Jesus Christ Superstar - Laura hewitt, Leoni Seville, Daniel Woolley, Katie Lockwood and Perese Haye

Young performers will bring modern-day trappings into play to give a contemporary twist to an age-old story.

Inspirations Theatre Company launch their production of Jesus Christ Superstar at the Pomegranate tomorrow (Wednesday, March 23) with graffiti artists, banner makers and iPods.

Later on in the show, a scene in the temple will feature cage dancers, child slaves, drug dealing and stolen weapons.

Director Dot Clarke said: “I believe the story relates to what is happening today. We have figures like al-Quaeda setting themselves up and people following them who can only believe what they are being told.

“The story of Jesus Christ Superstar is told through Judas, who thinks the followers of Jesus have become fanatical and unrealistic. Jesus has become a huge celebrity and Judas thinks he has become too popular. The priests are seeing what is happening, think Jesus’s popularity is dangerous and want him out of the way.”

Playing Judas will be Daniel Woolley who is dedicating his performance to the memory of a relative who inspired him to follow his dream.

He said: “I lost my great-nan, Anne Barnett who was 94, three months ago,” he said. “Jesus Christ Superstar is my first show since her death and she will be up there watching me.

“She helped me realise my dream when she told me that at her age, all people think about is what they didn’t do in life.”

Daniel (19), who lives in Brimington and works part-time for Tesco, turned down a place to study biology at university so he could pursue his love of performance arts.

This month he auditioned for a place at Mountview College in London and the Guildford School of Acting.

If he’s successful, Jesus Christ Superstar will be his last show with Chesterfield-based Inspirations Theatre Company which he joined in 2004.

He plays the role of Judas who betrays Jesus, then breaks down and commits suicide. Daniel said: “Doing Judas’s death scene is the one I have loved the most - I have got to sob and it is real acting.”

Daniel will be the envy of every red-blooded male watching the show when he’s surrounded by a bevy of scantily-clad babes in stockings and suspenders. “I’m not complaining,” he said. “I have already warned my girlfriend, Chloe Taylor, and she doesn’t mind - she’s coming to see the show.”

Jesus Christ Superstar runs from March 23 to March 26 at 7.15pm with a Saturday matinee at 2.15pm. Tickets cost £10 and £8 (concessions on opening night only); to book, call (01246) 345222 or www.chesterfieldvenues.co.uk